California drought conditions expected to worsen this summer, officials say

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The California State Board of Food and Agriculture met in Fresno to update locals on drought solutions. Board members told farmers and residents drought conditions were expected to worsen this summer. The drought forum was held at the Fresno Fairgrounds.

Homeowners like Ted Miller of Caruthers spoke of groundwater concerns. Miller said, "The water table dropped two feet a year for 70 years and right now it's dropping at eight feet a year."

Board members said the impact of the drought will be felt for many years and it was important homeowners and farmers thought of long-term conservation efforts. State Department of Water Resources drought manager Bob Croyle explained, "So that we can get on top of producing those Ag water management plans as we can and try to support the whole effort. Again, looking at drought resiliency and preparedness."

Mark Ghilarducci of the Governor's Office of Emergency Services was part of a group that visited East Porterville. Wells have run dry there and the state has been trying to develop a more reliable water supply. Ghilarducci said, "It's getting more complicated to do so and we are looking at all different kinds of solutions including putting another well in the Porterville area to build capacity provide additional water to east Porterville."

California Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency secretary Anna Caballero estimated 1,700 homes in California didn't have access to water because wells have run dry. She said, "It's obviously a health crisis and we want to make sure we're doing everything we can to provide resources to be able to avoid that."

The board came to Fresno to learn more about the challenges faced by Valley farmers, laborers and residents.

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